Maryland 2023 Legislative Changes to Expungement of Cannabis

The passage of the cannabis legalization referendum last November triggered not only new laws for possession and sale of cannabis, but also some exciting changes to criminal record expungement. When adult use and possession of cannabis becomes legal on July 1st, 2023, new expungement laws will go into effect as well. 

A criminal case where a person was convicted solely of cannabis possession will become eligible for expungement if the amount of cannabis was less than 1.5 ounces. Expunging a conviction for possession of any amount of cannabis will be possible if the person successfully completes their sentence.

A conviction for possession with intent to distribute cannabis will be eligible after 3 years from the completion of sentence.

Perhaps most interesting will be the ability to expunge cannabis-related charges even if the same case contains otherwise ineligible convictions. This subverts the longstanding “unit rule” that prevents many cases from being expunged.

Finally, the courts have been directed to automatically expunge cannabis possession charges by July 1st, 2024. How exactly this will work remains unclear, and we likely won’t know more details until next year. However, those with cannabis charges on their record do not need to wait for automatic expungement. A person is able to file for expungement as soon as their case becomes eligible.

See our cannabis expungement fact sheet for more details, and contact MVLS to see if you are eligible for help with criminal record expungement.